Solid Edge kicked off its 2023 product launch on October 12th in a YouTube Premiere. Our Senior Analyst, Arvind Krishnan attended the event and also had a briefing with Dan Staples. At this event, Dan shared the latest capabilities from the 2023 release. The following are the takeaways and observations that Arvind had throughout the event.
Cloud Based Collaboration using Siemens Xcelerator Share
Solid Edge users now have access to Xcelerator Share, a cloud-based collaboration solution. Solid Edge users can share their solid models and other engineering data with external stakeholders (think machinists, consultants, simulation experts, and contractors). They can also collaborate and co-design by providing comments and markups in the context of the design data.
Let me illustrate a typical situation where the engineering team wants a quotation from their preferred machine shop for a new design. The design engineer can share the 3D designs from Solid Edge with the machine shop using Xcelerator Share. The engineer can also share all relevant PMI data. All the external participants from the machine shop will be able to do markups, ask questions, and exchange information. The nice thing about Xcelerator Share is that every information exchange is in the context of the actual design and is always available for traceability. The machine shop does not need to have Solid Edge to participate in this process, as Xcelerator Share works on a web browser. Using Xcelerator Share, Solid Edge users can collaborate effectively with their partners while protecting their company’s IP. There is no need to email CAD models or office documents. If there is a change in the design, all the participants in the original share get the updated information.
The new Xcelerator Share in Solid Edge 2023 will improve the engineering team’s productivity. Lifecycle Insights research has shown that engineers spend significant time collating supplier-related technical data packages. They also spend considerable time answering questions and correcting the supplied data. So, there is a tremendous opportunity for companies using Solid Edge to reduce the engineers’ time to perform these tasks by using Xcelerator Share to communicate and collaborate with external stakeholders.
Flexible Licensing Providing True Value
Why do I consider the new value-based licensing in Solid Edge 2023 customer-centric? It allows users to discover and benefit from advanced functionalities critical to modern product development.
CAD solutions, including Solid Edge, have many add-ons that cater to specific functionalities. Often, these functionalities are not in the core set of CAD features. These are high-end capabilities, such as simulation, pcb collaboration, advanced pmi, and electrical routing, for which some customers are willing to pay. These customers have a regular need for these tools, and hence, the ROI works out. But many companies need these tools occasionally.
Product design has changed a lot in recent years. Companies must design products that get to market faster, meet stringent requirements, and compete with foreign products. Doing so requires diverse and remote engineering teams, contractors, suppliers, and consultants to work together in a shrinking timeline. Succeeding depends on using all the available CAD tools to their full potential. Solid Edge’s flexible licensing enables companies to explore and use these add-ons without the risk involved in high up-front investment.
Companies (having Solid Edge saas subscriptions) can buy a yearly pool of tokens that their engineers can use on-demand to access the different add-ons. This flexible option turns out to be cost-effective for many companies.
So what makes the value-based flexible licensing customer-centric? In the past, engineers could never justify many add-on purchases because they used them infrequently. Further, they could not even try out these tools to get a good feel for their usage potential inside their company. Solid Edge users were missing out on tools that could vastly improve their products and business. By giving customers the cost-effective ability to use the entire set of functionalities to develop better products, Solid Edge 2023 becomes more customer-centric.
Powerful Simulation Features Supporting Generative Design
In the 2023 version, Solid Edge expanded its capabilities in generative design. It added symmetry constraint, a designer-friendly capability to ensure that the generated designs are symmetrical. It also enabled users to specify a maximum displacement constraint. These additions further empower design engineers to automate the creation of critical lightweight products using generative technology.
But one can do much more with the meshing technology in Solid Edge, and this essential capability in simulation fascinates me. Allow me to lay out the situation.
The geometry produced by most generative engines is organic, which is excellent from a designer’s perspective. But engineers need to validate this design in greater detail through further simulation. Additionally, they may need to modify this geometry using standard CAD tools. This process creates a CAD model that combines mesh and B-rep (B-rep stands for boundary representation and is a fancy term for a mathematically precise geometry like a cube or cylinder). In technical terms, it is a mesh body, not prismatic like what a typical parametric CAD generates. This creates a problem for simulation because such geometries are challenging to mesh using high-quality mesh elements. Simulation results from poor mesh elements are inaccurate and not dependable.
But Solid Edge users don’t have to worry about this situation due to its powerful body mesh feature. The body mesh generates high-quality mesh elements, which ensures accurate simulation results. It is a big deal because design engineers can use Solid Edge generative capabilities to the maximum potential. I was told that the body meshing feature came from Simcenter StarCCM, which resulted from Siemens’ CDAdapco acquisition. This example is an excellent case study of the synergy between the various technologies inside Siemens Digital Industries Software.